Chocolate Cake

Exerting Self-Control Does Not Imply Sacrificing Pleasure

Choosing to eat chocolate cake as an alternative of carrot sticks doesn’t equal a lack of self-control, in keeping with new analysis co-authored by a Cass Enterprise Faculty educational.

Within the discipline of shopper analysis, self-control is usually conceptualized as, and examined by way of, the flexibility or incapacity to abstain from ‘hedonic consumption’ — at its most base stage, consuming sugary, fatty meals.

In line with this widespread conceptualization, meals selections contain a trade-off between well being and pleasure, the place deciding on pleasure is related to a self-control failure.

However, because the authors of Exerting Self-Control ≠ Sacrificing Pleasure argue, for a option to represent a self-control failure, it should be accompanied by anticipated remorse and violate a long-term aim held by the buyer.

“Presented with the opportunity to eat cake or carrot sticks, a person intent on losing weight would experience a self-control failure when they choose to eat the cake and expect to regret having done so. Anticipated regret would signal that eating the cake violated a long-term goal of losing weight,” mentioned Dr Irene Scopelliti, affiliate professor of advertising at Cass Enterprise Faculty.

“If the identical individual ate solely a small piece of cake, nonetheless, they might not expertise a self-control failure as a result of they haven’t eaten sufficient to violate their aim of losing a few pounds and set off remorse.

“It’s not the consumption of cake that mechanically indicators a self-control failure, it’s whether or not shoppers imagine that they might remorse their meals alternative sooner or later; our analysis demonstrates that well being and pleasure usually are not essentially in battle.

“That thinking plays into the dichotomous perception of foods being either good or bad, which is an incorrect over-simplification of eating practices.”

As a consequence, Dr Scopelliti and her co-authors, Professor Joachim Vosgerau of Bocconi College and Dr Younger Eun Huh from the Korea Superior Institute of Science and Know-how’s Faculty of Enterprise and Know-how Administration, argue that weight problems mustn’t, because it usually is, be related to a lack of self-control, as the 2 can’t be empirically linked.

“Because individuals’ long-term goals often differ, so too do the prerequisites for self-control failures,” Professor Vosgerau mentioned.

“If a person is comfortable with their weight and does not anticipate to regret in advance their food consumption choices, then we cannot say that person lacks self-control.”

Concluding their paper, the authors query whether or not shopper conduct researchers and psychologists have the experience to advise shoppers on their consuming practices or give recommendation on what constitutes a wholesome life-style.

“We argue that this task falls into the remit of nutritionists, biologists and medical professionals, who can objectively determine which foods and in what quantities are good or bad,” Dr. Huh mentioned.

“Shopper conduct researchers and psychologists are higher positioned to assist shoppers notice that they’ve a self-control downside, and to help them in altering their perceptions of meals in order that tastiness and healthiness turn out to be extra positively related.

“By abandoning the idea that eating “bad foods” equals a self-control failure, shoppers ought to discover it simpler to exert self-control, significantly if they’re armed with the mixed dietary information of medically educated professionals and the behavioral information of psychologists and shopper researchers.”


Reference: “Exerting Self‐Control ≠ Sacrificing Pleasure” by Joachim Vosgerau, Irene Scopelliti and Younger Eun Huh, 19 October 2019, Journal of Shopper Psychology.
DOI: 10.1002/jcpy.1142



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